Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Egyptian collar.........is there a wedding then?

Spent bank holiday weekend in pain with an abcess   and very swollen ear, it closed right up and was SOOOO painful. But thankfully its easing now after Dr gave me magical ear drops. But its still swollen and am deaf in that ear.......feels like when you submerge your head under water and your ears fill up with it...very odd!
Hope its not permenant!



Worked at home yesterday but was back in there today.
The collar here I made up at home. I was sat on the settee hand stitching this with a hot wheat bag wrapped round my ear, not the best look but Oh SO comforting!
I paid £10 (!) for the blumming thing, but saw it in the chemist and realised it was way better than the hot water bottle Id been using. So when you
see them at craft fayres for considerably less........buy one then!
This does have lavender in it too, so it smells divine but even so.......£10....

This collar is for the Egyptian Topic Box and will enable a child to wear it , though it might fall over their shoulders, so may have to make another one but smaller!
Its heavy weight painted pelmet vilene ( pellon) with bondaweb (wunderunder) on it and then foil stuck onto that surface, so its glitzy in places.
Then Ive used ribbon novelty yarn ( thanks Jean) and metallic thread and some nobbly wool, which I've couched down.
The gems came off a very Dallas style womans top, from a  jumble sale. I was going to stitch another row of them in place, but already it weighs so heavy, it could almost be considered an offensive weapon lol
Theres loads of gems left so enough to make a smaller version of this collar as well.

I also yesterday modroc'd my sarcophagus box and a pyramid..........as in Topic Box sizes, not for my own personal use........and they are at work drying, after painting them with more gesso and paint with sand in it today.
Oh and then today at work, I repainted a model that came back in before Easter but looked abit sorry for itself. I made this to accompany the tactile book of The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch.
It looks heaps better now lol spot the basket with his lunch in! The kids love it Im assured. But what the hell, I had fun making it!
( and to think I never did make my son a Tracy Island..........)

Oh yes, THAT wedding.........well I do wish them both well and hope they have far better luck than Williams mum ever did bless her.
But I also hope that they snook into an Anglesey Church, or on to a Welsh beach, and tied the knot in secret ages ago, just them two selves, so that it was a real meeting of souls and not the British Empire Pageant, thats going to occur in London friday.
Its not THEIR wedding is it, again, the great public have laid claim to the pomp of the event.
Yes I will watch the to Westminster, and during, and probably just after bits but I am not, as our local radio insists...one of the zillions of women who are desperate to know what Kates dress is going to be like..nor do I need to listen to, over and over again, some dance class lady advising on what she thinks the first dance will be, that they dance to at the reception.....DUH
I will not be glued all day to the tv, I will not lose sleep tonight at all.... but yes, I will feel very saddened that the wedding I watched when Diana wed, ended so bitterly and tragically in the press.
She will be there in every part of the ceremony, in all but body, and that is awfully sad somehow.
I hope the public and the bloody press will give them leave to be the good people that they seem to be.
Here endeth my rant.........lol .....and wishing them all the best Im off to have a G&T!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Clematis and stitching bits

What great weather we've been having, not by overseas standards I dare say, but for easter in UK, its been glorious.
Having said that there were smog warnings in some areas~ I can recall smog in Birmingham way back in the mid to late 50s... Mum made me wear a scarf tied round my neck covering my mouth, which damn near strangled me.  So determined was she that no smog would get through to my bronchially challenged young lungs!
The fact that she and Dad both smoked bloody 'Woodbines' all round the house can't have helped and there she was panicked over smog and my health!
But I do recall the darkness that hung around us as we trudged about, it was foul tasting I remember. One time I jumped off the tram on one journey, I cant have been very old cos I was born late 1949 and am sure the last trams in Birmingham were during the middle 50s sometime.
But I recall this journey and the smog because I was so wrapped up I couldnt see where to put my feet when we got off, so of course I ended up sprawled in the gutter as we left the tram and the conductress was kind and helped me up. lol The scarf was so tight and came right up over my nose and near enough stopped me seeing where I was going and looking down wasnt an option!
The conductress had on bright red lipstick and I remember Mum saying
" she's no better than she should be........." !!!
Looking back now, it was a judgemental and awful thing for Mum to have said!

However its been nice to have a few days off work with bank hols so its been doubly fine!
I am working 3 days next week before the next long weekend off, but 3 days I can manage, just wish I could drop to a 3 days week, every week!
If I could afford to I so would do... lol

The teacups above are my way of using the ones that I have somehow managed to break the handles of........so they are still being recycled. Of course you do need a blob of bluetack to keep them upright!

And this is the view from my back bedroom window......with the uninspiring next doors concrete garden to the left and my successfully growing clematis taking over everywhere else! the idea was to shield the fence tops for privacy and its worked! There are other clematis woven in amongst this one but they are hard to find until they blossom and fight their way up to the see the sun.


 Altered this piece and have finally finished it and mounted it on a wooden shadow box frame.
Its all eco dyed fabrics except for a slither or two of lilac voile that had been heat zapped. The eco dyeing is from last year, elderberry, and buckthorn as I recall. Added some recycled beads too.
This is as close as Ive come yet to making one of Jude's fantastical beasts I think, although I havent woven so much as collaged it.
 I stumbled on the backing fabric which is super soft cotton and so nicely patterned, with faded and kindly colours that I didnt feel it needed any more woven or other wise on it.
The sun motif is laid on a circular design that suggested a sun to me.
And the lion came about because I found a small piece of fabric with a flower on it that looked like a mane...........and thats def taken from Judes classes. The body, legs, tail, ears are eco dyed fabrics too.
Im going to let him hang for a while till I determine if he needs anything more around him. I think maybe I could have positioned him lower down, so the sun would have seemed higher, but am not shifting him now!
Its 5.50pm and must surely must be sundown somewhere in the world and its certainly seems close to it here too ...so on that premise am off to have a G&T :)
Happy Easter folks, may your eggs all hatch sucessfully or be tasty chocolate ones!
( from she who hasnt had a single one ! ) lol

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

"Shape Shifting: Using Shibori to Mimic ......."

http://www.interweavestore.com/Quilting/DVDs-Videos/Shape-Shifting-Using-Shibori-to-Mimic-Pieced-and-Appliqued-Shapes-Download.html?SessionThemeID=22&a=swe110408B

Dont miss the 10 cents download of 45 minutes of instruction on shibori techiques that mimic pieced and applique shapes!

It was easy to download and pay for with PayPal........and I found it useful learning a bit about what to do, since Ive no trained skill at dyeing, Im learning as I go here.
Malka Dubrawsky doesnt use eco dyes but the principles for the techniques are the same of course, so it may help to treat yourself for the small sum involved here.

 Something kept niggling at me about posh cat here..........then I finally sussed it, it was her face that I didnt much like lol .... so shes now got a slightly friendlier face!

Thought Id show these pieces of fabric below too. The central strip with red splodges, is small strips of the Mahonia bark, removed from the dye bath and laid on linen with afew odd eucalyptus leaves placed here n there. The fabric was simply rolled up and then stood on end in the steamer whilst another dye brew simmered beneath.
The fabric was dipped in the watered down soy milk drink before layering, rolling up and steaming and the marks are substantive, it lost very little when rinsed before drying. The red was a surprise to me, I wasnt expecting that colour, so it must be a different species of eucalypt. It was a sprig in with some flowers I was given!  Infact it didnt smell that eucalyptus on its stalk but once it was steaming , it did! The Mahonia bark seems to hold lots of colour, even though it looked stewed out when I removed some from the first dye bath!
Again the colours are dull here compared to what they are really like.
The thread near the top is actually the builders scrim that the Mahonia coloured such a great shade of sage.

Now our Scrapstore has lots of cardboard inner tubes from rolls of fabric and folks say.......what can you do with them?
Well a friend is turning them into two columns to stand outside her shop and I thought it was such a  clever idea!
(Sorry about my shoes!)
You can see shes used one larger centrally with 7 taped in position around it.
They have been glued onto a wooden plinth.
The whole thing was roughly blethered in Polyfilla, painted and then varnished.  Though I suggested that Paverpol might have been better, so they could withstand our english weather since they are for outside!
 What she has done is pour some sand down inside it so that it has some weight and stability, though not too much. She intends to pack the tubes then with oasis and stand large headed silk chrysanth flowers and bullrushes in the top.
I thought it an idea for party or wedding decoration maybe too?
So just in case you want to know what to do with long cardboard tubes.................hope this gives you an idea!
Of course the best thing for those long tubes obviously.......is to         
                         make them into light sabers..............everyone knows that!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Anyone know what plant this is please?

This magnificent colour on a colour catcher, tied in a knot then dropped in a dye pot, came from this shrub below which grows in our local park. I took a fancy to it so snook round its back and liberated some........to try and dye with.
Your quite right, yes I can almost hear India's words from her book, saying you must always identify it before you pick it.....
Anyway I was so thrilled with the colour it produced ( Im in a hard water area, but I used rainwater anyway..)I went back next day to liberate some more, to add to the dye stock...well, there are alot of these bushes...
But I have no idea what it is, so does anyone out there happen to recognise it please? Then I will go and buy one! A closer view is below.




 You can see the colour catcher absorbed the colour heavily but the shiborie-ish stitched silk noil on the left took it nicely too. On the right is linen and I used diluted Soy milk drink as a mordant although the pan was co mordant I suppose as well and it was steel.

My next surprise was from this vicious Mahonia, given to me by a lovely lady who answered my plea on our Freegle yahoo group for fallen eucalyptus bark. (Freecyle by any other name, not at all sure why in Hull it is called Freegle, very odd.)
She had cut it back and the trunks were a good 2" diameter and when cut the inside showed a vivid yellow!
This buttercup yellow pales after a while, oxydisation maybe?

Annie wondered if she could put the wood in the kiln with her clay pots and it make any colouration effect on the pots as they fired.
I have no idea, wonder if any one else has tried that?
I suggested she try in any case, but she kindly gave me some of the plant for me to try and dye with it in the meantime.

In Indias book she says the leaves are used, but OH BOY! Try slicing off the outer bark which is beautifully textured, and stewing that for an hour or two!
 I got a stunning vibrant green dye bath! The inner trunk is paler yellow but bleeds darker yellow when recut or wetted, so marks fabric thats wrapped round it fine. It does stain your fingers but happily washes off the hands. But the dye is pretty substantive losing only a little in washing the once.
Sadly the colours dont show well here but trust me, I got sage on builders scrim ( maybe the glue/size stuff in it had an effect there?), acid green on cotton, jonquil yellow on these old table cloths and bright yellows and dark golds on some natural wools I tied bundles up with.
Ive had 2 dye baths from each shrub and I havent touched the Mahonia leaves yet!






 The wierd bluey tinged piece far left here, may be a piece I dipped in vinegar, I think.. But its an unusual colour and Im quite chuffed with it..of course no hope of achieving it again Im sure lol


A closer view of that colouration here..

Above is the noil showing where Id shiboried and scrunched it. But the one on the right, was simply stitched diagonally across corner to corner, and the shade is from the unknown bush at top of this post....
But this bottom pic shows another one of the shiboried-ish noil pieces that was then slipped into the Mahonia bath, after the unknown bush had already stained it the burgundy/brown!
The three other pieces in this last piccy were from the blood red dye bath from a Verbena from a friends garden.........this is so much fun so how sad am I!!
Forgot Id taken this pic too..shows the layers of bark Im stripping off for the dye bath and the sharp bright yellow beneath.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A nine patch - ish!

I'm still not sure where I'm going with this but I seem to have made a nine patch, of sorts lol

I can't take credit for the idea of doing these to be fair.
I haven't stitched hexies together since way back whenever, but I saw some exquisite hexies stitched by Clarabella, see the link .. http://clarabellacraft.blogspot.com/2011/02/waiting.html

and thought I might try and make afew out of the colour catchers to see how they stitched and what they'd look like 'in formation'.
Given these are on the almost drab background, they are quite unlike Clarabellas  beautifully stitched hexies, but for some daft reason I find them quite pleasing as they are.
Almost - modern dyes captured, yet trapped in nostalgia...
no, only had one glass of wine tonight lol
And I still have no idea where they are going...other than maybe they need some old mother of pearl buttons on there, will have to sleep on that though and see what the Creative Gene comes up with next..

Monday, 4 April 2011

What Im up to ........

 Im working on this at the moment...looks mucky on the pic lol but it is all clean honestly.
Its an eco dyed base, well two halves of an old linen dinner napkin I think.
Its been brown onion skin steamed and then it spent abit of time in the compost bin. The hexies are colour catchers and Im just playing rather than going anywhere specific with it for now.
 Posh Puss is done, not that happy with her, not sure why exactly, but I do like the sky lol
Think maybe its the pink silk fabric, I should have sued grey maybe....but Im not altering her now.
And Ive stuck afew more bits of driftwood on the 'frame' edges of my mermaid. That frame should be finished by 2020 at this rate!

Gadget

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